The trip home was long but ultimately successful. I got back to Wichita Falls just before midnight on Friday. Saturday was a blur and today was long. I taught my class and preached twice. I was well pleased with many aspects of the trip. The perseverance of the folks in Brno and Sofia is so humbling and encouraging. Observing the maturing of Prague brethren gives a glimpse into the future (hopefully) of other groups. The resurgence of opportunities in Slovakia and the new opportunities in Toros have me excited about the potential. Thanks so much for your interest in these brethren and the preaching of the gospel. Please keep them in your prayers.
My train to Prague on Wednesday got me there with just enough time to settle in before meeting a man named peter who took me to a city about 30 minutes from Prague. He and his family are Christians who worship in their home. I have known them for years and appreciate their faith. Our discussion was good and I am still hoping to encourage more contact with other brethren. On Thursday, Honza helped me do some research and then we had our last discussion for this trip. We always have to quit rather than ever finishing. He has a good and wise heart that is a source of much encouragement for me.
On Monday Lucy cooked supper for Feri, Jarka, and me. It was a great meal accompanied by good conversation. After that we had a study of the church from the first chapters of Acts. Some of the material was challenging for them, but they stayed engaged and I think made some good progress.
On Tuesday we met again and were joined by a man who is Feri’s friend. Feri had told this man that we would be discussing the fall of Jericho. The man has written a short book on the conquest and was eager to join. I had the opportunity tiy to see his work beforehand, and it gave me the chance to spend a good bit of time I preparation for the discussion. He takes a rather unusual position on several aspects of this and is very passionate about it, but the discussion was good and profitable.
Sunday in Brno was a quiet but encouraging one though we were missing a few. Kamila wasn’t there with the baby, and Anecka was out of town. Consequently, there were five of us actually there and another five who joined us via Skype. Two of those were Jan’s parents, so that was quite encouraging. After our worship, Petra had a question she wanted to discuss and the. We visited for a while before my train to Bratislava.
On Saturday the Novak family gave Mike and me a ride to Brno for the study there. This teaching opportunity is almost always the highlight of my trip. As usual, Christians had traveled in hours from all directions to attend. We spent three hours looking at Revelation 2-3. The number of children who attended was an especially encouraging aspect of the day.. When it was over, we spent another hour outside visiting. Seeing the love these brethren have for each other is so encouraging. Seeing Anechka, the proud owner of a nice, new Texas made bag, make the effort at her age to come was very special as well. Once again technology was a blessing as Skype allowed a family of four unable to make the trip because of car trouble join us via the Internet.
The trip back to Prague was rushed, but smooth. The picture that looks like a big phone booth is actually a testimony to how badly some folks want to smoke. I had a couple of hours to settle in before the group study at Mike’s. It was well attended and the participation was good. We studied 1 Corithians 3 with a special emphasis on building. The next day, Honza and I met with one of the country’s greatest writers and a hero of the 1968 revolution, Ludvik Vaculik. He is the older gentleman pictured. We spent the next few hours walking and discussing a wide range of spiritual issues. Thursday was a quite day spent in study. On Friday we had another group study that looked at Proverbs 6. Seeing the Krishna’s march always makes me wish we had a little more of the not of this world zeal.
The trip to Sofia was pleasantly uneventful. I arrived early enough to do some laundry before meeting Biss. We met after he got off work to catch up and to plan the work together.
On saturday we got an early start to Draga’s. When we arrived, we gave her the cell phone we had brought to replace the one that was stolen. She was appreciative inspire of the fact it was defective. We told her we wanted to take to her to get some reading glasses. She was grateful, but wanted to study first. After the study we took her by taxi to a mall downtown. Her mobility has been so limited for so long that she was stunned by the mall. We got her fitted for glasses and had the pleasure of seeing her read without relying on a magnifying glass for the first time in years. We also replaced the phone. That evening we met Savy and Aaron for a visit and supper.
Early Sunday morning Joto picked us up for the hour and a half ride to Toros. It was the first time in the new room he has rented for meeting. He had worked really hard tto invite people and it paid off nicely. We had in the mid 30’s. At the end we announced a meeting at 2 for a question and answer session. About 8 teenagers showed up for that and stayed till we had to head back to Sofia for the worship there. The group in Sofia met and then stayed to visit for another hour. It made for a long but very good day. We plan to all get together again tomorrow.
The study tonight was not as well attended as we had hoped, but there were five. We studied Acts 17 and related it to the process people today experience in coming to faith. In addition to the hour of study, we spent an addition hour plus just visiting and talking. As always, Lucy was a most gracious hostess. Perhaps the highlight of the evening was when Franti asked if I would be willing to study with one of his friends on my way back through. It meant adding a day to my time in Bratislva, but it is well worth it. The opportunities in Slovakia continue to impress.
Monday afforded an unexpected study opportunity. I was invited to meet with a group of about 10 for a study of Luke. Most of the people who met are not Christians. We met in the office of the Minister of Transportation of Slovakia. He was one of the participants. The study went well and I have been invited to teach in a couple of weeks when I return to Slovakia. I am also scheduled to study with four of the people tomorrow evening.
Sunday in Brno was such an encouraging day. Mrs. Matousek was not able to join us, but Kamila and the Planetova family were there. Also, Jan, Hana, and Jan jr joined us via Skype from Canada. After worship we worked on the details of the “Brno study” on the 14th and went out to eat together. Josef updated me on his Bible software (He has written another 100000 lines of code.), and we reminisced as friends of many years do.
We parted with me headed to the train station only to learn that my train had been cancelled. After a lot of scrambling, I put together an fascinating itinerary that got me to Bratislva at about 10. Now I am have some time to rest and catch up with correspondence until a group study tomorrow evening.